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Vaccination Station: Where does the Covid-19 vaccine come from?5 min read

December 10, 2020 4 min read


Vaccination Station: Where does the Covid-19 vaccine come from?5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If 2020 has been the year of the nasty pandemic, 2021 has got to be the year of the vaccine. You’ve heard about it, we’ve heard about it, and everyone on the face of this planet has heard about it. You’ve probably heard all sorts of theories and questions around it. Can you take it? Will you mutate into a monster if you do? Is it better to get the coronavirus?

SARS-Cov2 Image: The Verge

Well, scientists say that it is most definitely better to get the vaccine. But what on earth goes into a vaccine, and why do they take so dagnabit long to be made? Also, is the Covid19 vaccine any different from the others?

Alright, alright, alright. Keep your socks on; we have answers. In this first part of a three-part series on vaccines (yay!), let’s explore what a vaccine actually is!

Let’s get a vaccine ready, real quick!

So let’s get right into it. Usually, a vaccine takes between 10 and 15 years to be developed! The fastest vaccine to have been made before the ones for Covid-why-are-we-still-talking-about-it-19 was the vaccine for a disease called Mumps. In fact, scientists developed that one in just four years. This time the vaccine calendar was even shorter but no less complicated. In just over 11 months, we have gone from identifying this completely new virus to making a safe vaccine that gives us an over 90% chance of immunity! That means that even if a vaccinated person comes in contact with Covid-19, they are unlikely to fall sick. Science! I know.

So, what really went down?

Well, in December 2019, scientists identified SARS- Cov2, the virus that causes Covid19. Covid 19 is a virus among a family of viruses known as coronaviruses. Coronaviruses have plagued our planet for ages. In fact, this is not the first mass infection that such a virus has caused! 

Owliver’s Obscure Observation: Within ten years, coronaviruses caused two widespread illnesses called SARS and MERS. Nonetheless, the spread of these illnesses was stopped speedily. Both those outbreaks were epidemics or diseases that make a large group of people ill. A pandemic, on the other hand, is an illness that spreads across countries and continents around the world. 

But, this virus is still unique, and therefore we have no real way to treat it. That’s why lockdowns came into place, and to this day and for many days going forward, we’re going to have to wear masks wherever we go. 

From a virus to a vaccine

So, getting back to it. Covid19 had arrived, and Chinese scientists were quick to act. Using the magic of artificial intelligence, they could create the virus on a computer. Images were sent across the globe instantly. Newspapers had the spooky-looking, spiky Covid 19 splashed on their front page. The genetic code of the virus had been revealed!! Let us put in terms that those of us that aren’t floating around in lab coats can understand: the DNA structure of the virus had been revealed. Okay, yes, that makes it no simpler; it is enough for us to go on.

So, spiky spooky Covid19 had been uncovered, and instantly the virus makers got cracking. Now, usually, the process of building a vaccine is very long.

However, there were a few reasons why this vaccine was easier to mak

  1. Scientists were already in the process of developing a vaccine for the other coronaviruses.
  2. For the first time, we are using new technologies that progress faster.
  3. The U.S. Government and other governments and agencies around the world gave scientists all the resources they needed to speed up the process of making a vaccine. The U.S. gave their mission to speed things up the coolest name: Operation Warp Speed. 

Owliver’s Obscure Observation: The United Kingdom has already begun vaccinating its citizens with the only vaccine that their government has approved. Thousands have already received the first bout of their vaccination! The first woman to get a legal vaccine was 90 year old, Margaret Keenan. She was vaccinated by a man named William Shakespeare!

And almost 12 months later, voila! We have 86 vaccines that are being tested on humans! Also, a few of them are ready for the general public to use! The moment our governments approve a vaccine, we are good to go get the jab. And… get another one a few weeks later… and finally, wear masks and continue to stay safe while knowing that this will all end soon. Also, we’ll be about 90% less like to fall ill. So really, you have to admit it all seems uphill from here. 

Let’s get India Vaccinated

Owliver’s Obscure Observation: Three vaccines are currently ready to be approved in India. Their trials seem to have been successful, and this month, all of them asked the government for permission to begin vaccinating the public. Two of these three vaccines were made in India! 

Covishield was developed by scientists from Oxford University and then produced by the Indian vaccine manufacturer from Pune, Serum Institute of India. Covaxin, however, was invented entirely in our home country! It was made by scientists who work at Bharat Biotech, a biology research center in the city of Hyderabad. The third vaccine that has asked for approval was created in the United States of America by a gargantuan company known as Pfizer, that develops vaccines.

Solve this crossword and fill in the answer key to build your very own vaccine.

Alright then, we’ll see you soon in the 2nd and 3rd part of this series.